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Sunday, 27 September 2015

The 2015 Challenge: Getting to the Start (1)

So ... 7 p.m. came, and I shut down my computer and set my e-mail out-of-office message. Or perhaps I did it in the other order. But you know what it's like with an evening in the Bree Louise ... by the time you come out, you cannot always remember everything that happened before you went in! But anyway ... I locked all my confidential papers away, shouldered my pack, hung my map cases around my neck, picked up my poles, and strolled up to Euston. Or perhaps I took a taxi. Like I said, after an evening in the Bree Louise ...

All the usual suspects were there; but I managed to drop my pack, prop my poles in the corner, put my map cases on a window sill somewhere, and enjoy a really good supper of gammon egg & chips, and a pint or three. Or perhaps it was four. Or five. Like I said, after an evening in the Bree Louise ...

Well, the time for the Sleeper to depart drew near, so I shouldered my pack, picked up my poles, and headed off to Euston. I got settled into my berth, then made my way to the lounge car to spend my vouchers on a wee dram. Or two. or three. (OK ... so the vouchers wouldn't stretch to three drams ... but I had some money with me too, and wasn't averse to spending it). I found Sloman already there, and Lambert (or was it Walker? Or perhaps all three? Like I said, after an evening in the Bree Louise ...) and, he being a companionable sort, we were soon deep in conversation as the appointed hour for the train to depart drew near.

About five minutes before departure time, Sloman looked out of the window and said "Is that your maps?" For there was a demented madman, running up and down the platform, frantically waving three map cases in his hand.

"Oh no," said I. "My maps are in my berth, with the rest of my kit."

But, just to be sure, I returned to my berth to check everything was as it should be and ... no maps! So I hurried to the door, retrieved my maps, and thanked the madman profusely with about three minutes to go to the train's departure. I then returned to the lounge car, where, naturally, nobody cracked a single joke about it. At least, not one that I remember. Like I say, after an evening in the Bree Louise ...

Not that it would have been that much of a disaster if I had arrived without my maps, in any event. All that was in there was my maps from Dornie to Tomich, and my route card. My next set of maps were waiting for me in my resupply parcel which, even then, was winging its way to Tomich. It would undoubtedly be possible to buy replacement maps in Kyle of Lochalsh. And, if the worst really did come to the worst, I was sure that I should probably be able to find my way from Dornie to Tomich without the aid of a map. I would probably have had to miss out all the mountains I'd planned to do along the way, of course ... but with all the snow we had been warned about, it was in any event far from certain that I would be doing any of those mountains anyway.

And so the train pulled out of Euston, complete with me, my pack, my poles AND my maps. And after a pleasant evening and a few drams in the lounge car, I retired to my berth and enjoyed a pleasant snooze as the train hurtled north through the night.


  1. Of course, John. One for the map currently in use; one for the maps I have yet to use; and one for the maps I have finished with, route card, and any other important bits of paper.

  2. Strong language that! A madman, me? Anyway, glad to have been of service.